Migraine Awareness Month #4 “June is Bustin’ Out All Over!”
For me, knowing what to do and what not to do during summer – or any other time, for that matter – is not so much a practice of mechanics as much as one of psychology. I have a feeling that it’s like that for most migraineurs as well as others suffering from any chronic condition.
We know our triggers, we know our limitations, and we’re well aware of how careful we’re supposed to be…
The problem, then, is not one of knowing; it’s one of doing (or “not-doing”).
I find myself sometimes (ok – almost ALL the time, I admit it!) struggling with my defiance, wrestling with my better judgment, and sparring with my very-vital & wildly-alive DENIAL.
These emotions and a host of others show up every day, but tend to dominate my thoughts and feelings in the hours and days once I realize I’m getting sick. Cheerful optimism and the “self” I (thought) I know so well sits, quietly gagged in the back seat.
During those times when I’m not in severe pain – yet – anger, frustration and desperate rage take over; the choices made while these feelings are in control almost always get me into trouble, painful trouble… then – suffering. This cycle of suffering finally broke through to a “recipe” of sorts. This concoction has kept me sane, given me hope, kept my emotional balance and allowed me to enjoy more fun events and summers (the BEST time of year in my book!!) than I could when I let defiance and anger run the show. Here is my recipe for a June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (or any other time of year, if you please):
- Know your triggers and irritants – keep that mental note – but try to retain the balance between dwelling on them and denial. Dwelling on the illness and its triggers will keep you locked in isolation, fearing any situation and never rising above it; reckless denial, though (pushed through by anger and defiance) will only get you more sickness and more bad events/memories, perpetuating the cycle.
REMEMBER: Denial – in small amounts – fosters hope and will carry you through…
- Do take care of yourself (this is one area where denial DOES NOT belong): if you know you’re getting sick, do what you need to take care of it. Do not allow the slithering character of excessive denial talk you into ignoring your illness/upcoming attack. This type of denial also rears its slimy head when you feel embarrassed or stigmatized about your illness and have to leave a party or event early or not go at all. Allow courage to take its place and make the choice to tend to you. You really WILL thank yourself later…
DON’T FORGET: Excessive denial will always get you into trouble.
- Plan, Plan, Plan. Remember that sometimes, you have to pick and choose. Deciding on too much fun, too much excitement and too much of anything when you’re a migraineur just doesn’t add up. I know – it’s not fair and so many don’t understand – but this is one of those facets of our reality that CANNOT be denied. To disregard it is to cheat yourself.
MOST IMPORTANT: Choose your battles (I mean, fun events) – WISELY. Planning to do LESS will equal MORE.
- Pray, Pray, Pray… Then – quietly go about your business; the answer and relief WILL come.
ALWAYS BELIEVE: Optimism, faith and perseverance will ALWAYS reward you with courage, comfort and MEANING.
- Let go of any particular outcome. This can be immensely difficult – we want things: our lives, events, others’ opinions – to go a certain way or turn out how we want. Since we’re faced with a painful, unrelenting, chronic, and often misunderstood illness, we ask, “Why?” We may never know “why”, but we must remember: how do we know that if WE each had the chance to CHOOSE, our lives would be any different or better? We can never see the whole picture from our limited perspective. We can choose to be happy and grateful for the answers we’ve waited for and received. Once we can see them, we realize they’re often better than what we thought we wanted.
FINALLY: Gratitude is a choice, but powerful in your receipt. All that you need will be yours: choose to see and accept a reality that may be different from that which you originally imagined.
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com